Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Government looks at me, and I look back.

Police New York 03\23\06

It was a very cold morning, and I took this photo. The police officer without the cold weather mask slowly came and stood next to me, not looking at me he said, "You shouldn't have done that."
I turned to look into his eyes and asked, "have you read the constitution lately?"
"It would have been nice if you asked... " he said, in a curiously flat unemotional voice.
"Yes it would have, but then I would not be doing my job. We all have to do our jobs as politely as we can. Would you like a print?"
"No, it would have been nice if you asked."

Yes, Friends, that would be nice. But, to show the world as it is, we can't have the happy posed photographs that say all is well. All is not well. That we have police who look like soldiers on our streets with automatic rifles... is not nice. That the police photograph us, without asking, as agents of the state, is not nice. But, it is a different act for the citizen to photograph the state, that is the right that makes us free, and the police who say, "you shouldn't do that... " chill this right, especially when facing us with assault weapons on a peaceful day.

In Puerto Rico, last month, journalists photographed the FBI as they conducted raids against Puerto Ricans who wished to be independent. The FBI explained they were conducting raids in an effort to thwart what it called an alleged "domestic terrorist attack". The journalists were sprayed with pepper spray, where beaten, some beaten as they lay on the ground.

I wished the police officer well, and that he might stay warm on a cold day and walked on, wondering how long we might be able to protect the right to watch the government who is watching us.


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